Unhappy Birthday shocks at Camden People’s Theatre
An imaginative approach to performance art, the audience takes on the supporting roles in Amy Lamé’s excessive yet enjoyable one-woman show Unhappy Birthday at Camden People’s Theatre.
In bright red Converse shoes and a white Morrissey T-shirt, Lamé rather comically embodies an exaggerated, obsessive teenage girl, intent on entertaining guests at her Morrissey-themed birthday party.
Advanced through activities like pass the parcel and karaoke, Lamé is quick-witted with her guests, adapting easily to each individual’s tone and creating a real sense of camaraderie. While successfully keeping the audience entertained, her performance is at times much too over the top to accurately represent a young girl’s outlook on life.
Her scripted jokes can sometimes come off as unwitty and lacking in validity. As she wraps up one of her bits, Lamé says: “I use sanitary towels in all my shows because I’m a feminist,” as she downs a cup of orange liquid, spilling most of it on the front of her shirt. Furthermore, with one exception, stuffing her face with food and drink seems to be carried out more for shock value than to really add depth or value to the story.
But the intimate venue provides the ideal setting for the event, with black streamers hanging from the ceiling, chairs lining the walls and only a table centre stage, you could very well be sitting in a friend’s living room. The minimalist props – bright red party hats, colourful party poppers, bubbles and confetti – add to the buoyant atmosphere of the show and create a genuine sense of excitement.
With a soundtrack that includes This Charming Man, How Soon is Now? and You’re the Only One For Me, Fatty, the content and music are perfectly coordinated to appeal to fans and will have you singing along to your favourite chorus.
At the end of the evening, you’re not only left with great tunes stuck in your head and party favours, but also the question: What Difference Does it Make?
Photos: Tom Sheehan
Unhappy Birthday is at Camden People’s Theatre until 1st June 2013. For further information or to book visit the show’s website here.